Building off yesterday’s verse that mentioned God requiring an account of everything that man does, Ecclesiastes 3:16-17 contrasts worldly judgment with God’s judgment. The Preacher says, “Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, iniquity was there. I said in my heart, ‘God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.'”
The judgment issued in the world is characterized by wickedness and lack of justice. In fact, that which is supposed to be righteous is also often replaced by sin and wickedness. Unfortunately, the effects of sin have corrupted the world so much that everything is backward. Ethics, morals, motives, punishments…everything is skewed to a certain extent.
However, “God shall judge the righteous and wicked.” Whereas sin may go unpunished and vanity may go unrecognized on the earth, nothing will escape judgment from God. Everyone will give account to God, and everything will undergo the scrutiny of our almighty, perfect God. Why? Because “there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” This concept now takes on a whole new meaning. Not only does everything happen in its time within God’s sovereign will. Additionally, there is no satisfaction or reward in things that are done outside of their purpose and time. Even if we try doing good things at the wrong times and for the wrong reasons, they are vain.
As an example, what happens when you try baking cookies for half the time that a recipe calls for? Or what happens if you drink milk a month after it expires? Or try planting a vegetable garden when there’s snow on the ground. In the same way, everything has its time and purpose within God’s will, so we should not try to change it.
Finally, even judgment has its time and purpose. God is already at work judging the actions of men, but someday, He will exercise complete and final judgment on all mankind and his actions.
Where there ought to be right,
Instead there is wrong.
Where there should be light,
Man’s sin lingers long.
Justice suffers under the sun,
But it will be perfect above.
God will judge rightly all that is done,
And by it we will see His love.